Reading “Mice and Rats in Research” (Sept 8)

Mice and Rats in Research, an article written by the NAVS (Advancing Science without Harming Animals) could do better to persuade people about limiting the use of animals (plus birds, reptiles, and other living organisms with the exception of plants) in research.

The writer informs the reader about the difference in numbers: an article published in the Journal of Medical Ethics reveals that in between 1997 to 2012, the number of animals used in researched rose around 73% — and this was found through using Animal Welfare Assurance documents that are not public. However, the APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service), on a website that is easily accessible, publishes that in between 1997 to 20112, there was a 25% decrease in animal use. As this private organisation posts a lot of “Donate Today” buttons around, the website, we can conclude that they want us to agree with the goal of the organisation, and give them support.

Keep this in mind as we click on the “How you can help – Take Action” tab which links us to a page that describes how to write letters to the congress. According to the website, the definition of taking action seems to be writing letters to individuals “that have the power to make decisions on those issues.” Based on the article, they are advocating against 2 major issues: transparency and animal research. For the former issue, this method is probably the best, but for the latter, simply raising awareness and using pens and paper will hardly produce results.

Animals, especially rats and mice are used to make better cosmetics, to find cures against cancer, to produce new vaccinations. These vaccinations and medicines have continuously saved countless lives; therefore it may be hard to persuade the majority of people who use these substances just with numbers that don’t correspond to what the organisation found. To convince the reader to donate money against animal research, I felt that NAVIS needed to be clear on what the money is being used on and if there are any other methods to test substances.

This was my honest opinion until I found a link to “Fund Smarter Science”. It went over who were being funded, the pictures of smiling researchers working to use microchips instead of actual animals etc. I probably had not looked into the website as much as I should’ve, but for people like me, they can add a quick link at the bottom of the page?



Reading Into the Maelstrom by Eli Kintisch (Aug 31)

The article’s main purpose is to inform the reader about how Jennifer Francis’ hypothesis came out, how it was criticised, and how it ended up improving her confidence level. The piece of writing covers the moment in which she introduced her hypothesis, where she wasn’t able to talk about her data before another colleague jumped in to challenge her proposals. As a reader could guess from the first paragraph that illustrated Francis’ struggle to give the presentation, her idea was met with different types of reactions. As climate change is a big issue that could enforce policy changes and the lives of the community, Francis expected these reactions. Several atmospheric dynamists and climate modellers disagreed with her model and introduced new ones, an oceanographer decided to wait and see, and the White House invited her to be an advisor. Francis’ brief biography ends with a few notes about how she grew to be thick-skinned, more confident, and to have fun with people who were “irately skeptical” (162, Into the Maelstrom, Eli Kintisch).


The writer assumes that the reader already agrees with Francis’ statements, so the writing seems to convince the reader to be more confident about their works, as Francis learned to be in the end. It also seems to suggest that the reader make up his or her own mind about this issue, like Francis did. Even though climate change is a life-changing problem, Francis’ proposals could only be proven after around 60 years, therefore, it is important to independently decide which theories to trust and take responsibility for it. Eli Kintisch leaves us with this choice.


To close the article, the article mentions a biography of Jennifer Francis: “The title of the book, which documents that life-changing journey… A Path to Extremes” (162, Into the Maelstrom, Eli Kintisch). Let us hope that the book rose in sales after this article came out.




One thought on “Blog

  1. This blog post provides an overview of the article; what did you find interesting about its argument, rhetorical strategies, content, or otherwise? What do you think of the depiction of the “life-changing journey” in the middle of an article about the potential connection between weather and climate change, for example?


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